Audio advertising was one the hottest topics recently at Advertising Week Europe, with experts from O2, Formula, the IAB and Essence on panels discussing the best way to leverage the medium. The sentiment amongst the industry is that digital audio is more than just a passing fad, and brands are lining up to take advantage of the possibilities on voice, podcasts, and digital radio.
The topic has been steadily gathering pace since 2018, with several platforms launching programmatic audio advertising capabilities over the course of the year. Most recently, Spotify has shown its own commitment to audio with the acquisition of two podcasting networks, and it seems there’s even more to come with the company announcing plans to spend up to $500 million on podcast-related deals.
Is it any wonder audio advertising is making so much noise? The potential of audio is huge. For one thing, digital audio is undoubtedly on the rise: 77% of US audiences are currently tuning in, and in the UK, digital audio ads are projected to represent a £1 billion market by 2023.
However, it’s not just the size of audiences that’s interesting, it’s also the way they are listening to audio. Close to 80% of audio content is consumed while users are in places that visual media can’t reach, like running in the park or commuting in the subway, making the channel more ‘mobile’. In addition, audio consumption is often embedded in multi-tasking, with users streaming digital radio while doing the laundry, or listening to a podcast while cooking dinner, making audiences less inclined to skip through adverts. Not only does audio offer the potential to reach audiences at moments when they were previously unreachable, it also presents the opportunity to connect with them while they are a captive audience.
However, the most exciting feature of audio advertising is its unique potential to reach users through emotional and mood targeting. With digital audio, brands can serve ads while users are tuning in to mood-based playlists. Brands can reach consumers with messaging that aligns with the mood they are currently in, like running shoes while they’re listening to a workout playlist, or tissues while they’re listening to breakup music!
At Adobe, we have recently launched self-service audio advertising buying within our Adobe Advertising Cloud platform, so that our users can deliver targeted adverts to audiences based on their specific profile. We have partnered with some of the largest premium digital audio content providers – Spotify, SoundCloud, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio – to offer advertisers access to over 1 billion streams of programmatic audio ads across devices. We see audio as an exciting and important element of an omni-channel media buying approach, and the Advertising Cloud platform allows users to unify targeting, reporting, and cost across their entire media buy – including audio – within one single platform.
Our customers are already trying out the new feature, and the feedback so far is positive. One company, British mobile phone retailer Mobiles.co.uk, tested audio advertising as part of their Black Friday campaign “Oh My Deal”. Mobiles.co.uk found themselves in a noisy space during the Black Friday sales period, and were looking to try something new. Audio was just one part of an omni-channel strategy which also included paid search, display and social.
Audio placements on Spotify allowed Mobiles.co.uk to reach a new category of potential customers in a highly targeted way. Mobilies.co.uk used mood-based targeting to engage with users while they were listening to playlists associated with spontaneity and assertiveness.
This was a first for Mobiles.co.uk, and in some respects the venture was challenging. Audio advertising creative is not as easy to tweak and optimise over time as other formats, so the company needed to get their sound recordings completely in order prior to the launch. Working with the brand, we were able to take the lead and guide Mobiles.co.uk through the entire process, offering them easy introductions to agencies, and keeping them updated on the campaign’s progress at every stage.
In terms of results, Mobiles.co.uk couldn’t have been happier. The audio component of the campaign yielded 340k+ impressions, 337k+ completions, at a rate of 98.85%. This was in line with results on other formats, showing we had targeted the right demographic.
Audio advertising is a space filled with exciting possibilities. Our customers are already benefiting from the powerful targeting opportunities on the format, and now that Adobe’s self-service capabilities are online the success stories are only going to grow. Personally, I can’t wait to see what the future of audio holds – for consumers and advertisers!